On the eve of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's visit to Alaska, Governor Sean Parnell today called on the secretary to approve construction of the King Cove-Cold Bay road. In a letter to Jewell, the governor commended her for personally visiting with King Cove residents, but implored her to act swiftly and set aside the recommendations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and approve the road.
"There is no reason for the federal government to continue endangering the lives of King Cove residents needing emergency medical treatment and brave medical personnel trying to save lives, and forcing United States Coast Guard responders to help because there is no road," Governor Parnell said. "While I appreciate Secretary Jewell taking the time to meet personally with residents, further delay in approving this road will only increase the chances of serious health risks to King Cove residents."
The governor also encouraged the secretary to visit the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In May, Governor Parnell put forth a plan to partner with the Department of the Interior on a seven year seismic research plan to explore the area's potential. The USFWS initially rejected the state's plan, but is currently reviewing the state's appeal.
"Alaskans and all Americans deserve to know the natural resource potential of ANWR," Governor Parnell said. "Rather than continuing to blindly oppose our plans to conduct seismic research, the secretary ought to see firsthand what part of ANWR we are talking about and how small the potential footprint would be."
A copy of the governor's letter regarding King Cove is available at: